Need Duel in the D advice for this weekend

Submitted by Mr. Elbel on February 5th, 2018 at 12:59 PM

My wife and I are driving up to Michigan from Virginia this weekend to spend some time with family and take in the UM/MSU hockey game at LCA on Saturday. She doesn't care much about sports (though all things Michigan are rubbing off on her), but one of our first dates was a (non-Michigan) college hockey game and so she bought us tickets for Christmas.

However, it's been at least 10 years since I've been downtown Detroit, and that as a teenager so my experience there is lacking. We're staying with my sister in GR Friday night and heading over to Detroit sometime on Saturday. I got a hotel over in Romulus since that's on our way home anyway.

But I don't really know what's good to do in the area around LCA for the time that we're there. Specifically, where is good to go for dinner that's reasonably priced? I'd love to take her to a good coney place or get some Detroit pizza, but I grew up in Flint, not Detroit, so I have no idea what I'm doing.

Also, is there anything in the area that we should not miss out on? Anything in LCA we ought to see? I'm already planning on taking her by Comerica/Ford field and maybe down by the Joe, just so she can see them.

As far as the game goes, this will be her first Michigan sporting event and my first Michigan hockey game. Especially for a neutral site game like this, what should we expect? I have no idea how rowdy students are nowadays or if many students will even be there. Would love to show her a good crowd but LCA isn't Yost. I'm also not sure how chants and all that go but I'm sure we'll pick up on some of that as the game goes on.

Of course, I'm doing my own research as much as I can, but I trust mgoposters way more than I do the rest of the internet. Thanks for any information you can give us. Go Blue!



February 5th, 2018 at 1:21 PM ^

Taqueria el ray is both cheap and good. It's cash only and if you go order the grilled chicken.

Suppinos pizza in eastern market is great. Can also grab beers at easter market brewing company.

If you're into Japanese food, Ima is real good (in corktown) you can grab drinks after at any number of establishments in the neighborhood.

Midtown has lots of great options as well


February 5th, 2018 at 2:34 PM ^

Haha just responded to Matt D below - my girl is from Mexico, grew up in Mexicantown, we're Mi Pueblo people! That's the place that tastes most like her mom's home cooking. We know the owners, a lot of family and friends and neighbors eat and work there. I think I've been to el rancho just once and it was good, not good enough to convert me. 


Best taco truck is Taco Veloz.


February 5th, 2018 at 4:21 PM ^

Taqueria El Rey is great.

El Asador is excellent.

But the best lunch-time Mexican food in Detroit is Las Cazuelas inside the gas station on the corner of Michigan Ave and Livernois. They also serve a hell of a vege smoothie for breakfast.

To the OP:

Harry's is a good bar to go to before the game because it's got free fenced-in parking and it's close to the stadium.

My wife and I like Downtown Louies. Good food, nice ambiance.

Walk Campus Martius. It's a testament to what a vibrant downtown Detroit can be.

Louisville Wolverine

February 5th, 2018 at 1:13 PM ^

The area around Campus Martius has quite a few places to eat and drink these days. There's also a public trans trolley along Woodward to get from LCA to downtown and back fairly easily.

Standby bar

Texas de Brazil

Several restaurants in Greektown: Redsmoke BBQ, Wahlburgers, Pizza Papalis, etc.

Cornerstone bar

Three coney places are within a block or so of Campus Martius.


February 5th, 2018 at 1:16 PM ^

Skip the driveby of the Joe, which is in a different (and unattractive) part of downtown and doesn't look impressive at all. 

This is, of course, the first standalone UM-MSU hockey game at LCA. UM-MSU games at the Joe can be a lot of fun, have have on occasion sold out. Other than a spot near the band, there usually wasn't a dedicated student section, but there are regular fans that go every year and it has a good amount of fan support.

I have no idea how this will carry over to LCA; the GLI isn't a good barometer in any year and this year in particular wouldn't be a good indicator because of the unusual days and the fact that Michigan and Michigan State played in the early consolation game.



February 5th, 2018 at 1:17 PM ^

If you like deep dish pizza go to Pizzapapalis in Greektown.... SOOOOOO good. RedSmoke BBQ is another favorite.  There are tons of decent casual restaurants and bars in the Greektown/Foxtown area just south of LCA and closer to Comerica and Ford Field, so really just depends what you're into. Parking at Greektown Casino and walking from there gives you convenient access to bars and restaurants, and is a very easy walk for Lions/Tigers.  Probably about a 15-20 min walk to LCA or can hop on the trolley too.


February 5th, 2018 at 1:28 PM ^

I'd take the time to go down to Campus Martius (probably 15 min. walk from LCA, or you can take the Q Line).  There's an ice skating rink and bar down there.  

American and Lafeyette Coney Islands are right down there to grab a quick bite.  Honestly, if you want Detroit-style pizza, it'd be worth it to stop at Buddy's on your way in from Grand Rapids.  No downtown location, but they have several in metro Detroit.  

Near the stadium: Bakersfield has good tacos, Grey Ghost is my favorite restaurant downtown (more expensive), 2941 Street Food has delicious fast casual mediterranean.  

yossarians tree

February 5th, 2018 at 3:53 PM ^

These are all good suggestions around the Campus Martius area and from there it is about a 10 minute walk to LCA and you will pass Comerica Park, Ford Field, the Fox Theater. This will keep it simple, keeps you from wandering all over the place, and still offers a lot to see. If you haven't been there in ten years you are going to be blown away at how much it's sprung to life.

A word about Detroit-style pizza. To my knowledge there is nowhere to get it anywhere near downtown. The original Buddy's is a twenty minute drive from there on Six Mile and not the greatest neighborhood, especially at night. A little further north is Loui's in Hazel Park and that is in my opinion the best in the city. Pizza Papalis is not Detroit style pizza and is IMO a disgusting pie of three inches of melted cheese and half-cooked dough. Even Chicago would hate this stuff and their pizza sucks! Supinos was mentioned above and that is excellent pizza but it is New York style (round, thin-crust). Also don't bother going down to the Joe. There is absolutely nothing going on down there and, despite the many great memories the Red Wings gave us there, that whole area of town is a total shit-hole from the Easter Bloc architectural era brought in by comrade Coleman Young.


February 5th, 2018 at 4:16 PM ^

I was thinking the same thing, once the OP mentioned wanting Detroit-style pizza.  Kinda crazy a place hasn't popped up downtown serving Detroit-style.  There is a Jets in Midtown which I like, but isn't on the same level as Buddy's.


February 5th, 2018 at 6:45 PM ^

My Grandparents lived in Hazel Park. When we would visit them in the 70's and 80's, we would get this giant, rectangular pizza. I'm almost certain we called it Randazzo's. It was at least 18x24". It would cover the whole dining table. And we needed a huge pizza because dad was the eldest of 8 kids and there was always a crowd at his parents' house.

It was fantastic pizza. Fast forward 30 years and my grade school friend is now living near Detroit and he posted something about Loui's pizza in Hazel Park. I tried looking up Randazzo's but it looks like it's a grocery store. But there is a Shawn Randazzo who is an award-winning Detroit style pizza chef who has opened his own restaurant.

I've eaten a lot of pizza in my 47 years. That Detroit style pizza I'd get at my grandparents' house is still the best.


February 5th, 2018 at 1:39 PM ^

Wright & Company is a good place for dinner. Fancier than a coney, but still fairly casual. Has good food and great cocktails. 

Gray Ghost near LCA is also good with a similar vibe.

There's also a Shake Shack in Campus Martius, a bit further south.


February 5th, 2018 at 1:53 PM ^

Well, you could take the coney challenge.  Lafayette or American.  Duck in and get one of each.  I prefer American.

It touristy, but I always like to hit up Cheli's Chili as well. 

Jack Hammer

February 5th, 2018 at 5:00 PM ^

Lafayette.   3 on 2 with chili cheese fries.  I was in Detroit area for a meeting a couple weeks ago and on the way out almost missed my flight home because I took a long detour through downtown to get a Lafayette coney.  I dream about Lafayette coneys.  I've never had an American.   And never will.

matt D

February 5th, 2018 at 1:57 PM ^


Chicago Style - I would go Giordano's (just recently opened downtown near Greektown) over Pizza Papalis, although both are good options

Detroit Style - Most will say Buddy's, and you can't go wrong there, but I prefer Shield's (although it is located in Southfield)

Thin Crust - I would go Atomatoes in Farmington Hills, but Suppino is great as well and located in close proximity to LCA



Slow's - in Corktown (5mins away from LCA)

Lockhart BBQ - located in Royal Oak, smaller portions in relation to Slow's, better brisket but inferior to Slow's in terms of pulled pork, smoked chicken, smoked ribs


Coney -  honestly Lafeyatte gets a lot of publicity, but its overhyped and not much better (if better at all) in relation to any other Coney. Nostalgia and that's about it



Armando's - located in Mexican Town, Americanized and the menu won't shock you with tons of authentic items, but authentic enough to give you Mexican good food in abundance in an authentic Detroit setting

El Rancho - where most Mexicans/Hispanics frequent, also located in Mexican Town

Evie's Tamales - located in Mexican town, absolutely the best tamales in town and also dirt cheap. Doesn't stay open late so you may need to check on hours, etc

matt D

February 5th, 2018 at 1:59 PM ^

usually has great game day atmosphere for the Wings/Tigers, but don't know if that translates to college hockey.


Best wings in town is Sweetwater Tavern on Congress & wings I've tasted in the entire country. Gets crowded during the weekend at times. May offer shuttle to LCA. Located downtown, might be walkable to LCA.

Mr. Elbel

February 5th, 2018 at 2:10 PM ^

I'd love to go to Buddy's, but if we go the pizza route then it looks like Pizzapapalis might be our spot. Another poster suggested getting Buddy's on our way into town though, which might not be a bad idea either. There's one in Novi right off 96.


February 5th, 2018 at 3:29 PM ^

Yep, I agree. If you go to Buddy's and you're not from the area, go to the original at McNichols and Conant (go here if you are from the area and have not been too). I've been the Novi, Ann Arbor and Dearborn (closest to me) locations, but for some reason, it is indeed better in Detroit.



February 5th, 2018 at 2:30 PM ^

Have to disagree on El Rancho. I'll plug Mi Pueblo here - my fiance is from Mexico, grew up in Mexicantown, knows the owners and most of the staff at Mi Pueblo and the place is always packed with the locals. I would guess that Mi Pueblo is actually the preferred spot of Mexican Detroiters. They've also made some Americanized dishes and attract some white folk, but you hear more Spanish than English in there and I think their food is most authentic. Shameless plug for my friends.


I can tell you that Xochimilco is probably the least preferred amongst Mexicantown deinzens.


February 5th, 2018 at 2:53 PM ^

is awesome as well. it's on Second just off Mack.

If you like Italian a good Corktown place is Ottava Via on Michigan

Those are two of my favorites